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About the African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence

Responding to the urgent need for greater equity and effectiveness in behavioral health services for African Americans, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) established this new African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence on October 1, 2020.

From our academic home in the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) in Atlanta, we have begun to develop and disseminate training, technical assistance (TA), and written and recorded resources to help behavioral health and our allied fields eliminate disparities for this large and diverse population.

Challenges and Focus Areas

The many challenges to behavioral health equity are deeply rooted in our history as a field and as a nation, in our professional cultures, and in the local, regional, and national cultures that surround the individuals, families, and communities we serve. So the African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence is taking a highly collaborative public health approach toward cultural and practical transformation of Behavioral health systems; Intervention, Treatment, and Recovery support practices; Training and support for the professional and non-professional workforce; and, the systems of education, training, and technical assistance.

We are committed to looking at our work through an integrated population health lens that includes the full range of factors that affect African American health, behavioral health, well-being, and healthcare. We understand that issues of equity and justice are often the “determinants of the determinants,” those factors that make all the difference:




Together with our diverse community of partners, we will do all we can to make behavioral health and health care equitable and effective for African American individuals, families, and communities.
That will move all of us—of every color and ethnicity—toward greater dignity, stronger resilience, healthier minds and bodies, and a deeper sense of shared humanity.